The members and staff must work together effectively as a team to accomplish the Association's goals. Such joint efforts are enhanced by an environment of courtesy and mutual respect. Offensive behavior not only impedes the effectiveness of the joint efforts, but can also create exposure to legal liability.
The National Association fully supports the rights and opportunities of all its directors, committee members and employees to work in an environment free from discrimination and without subjugation to sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment does not include occasional compliments or voluntary relationships between members and staff.
Sexual harassment may be overt or subtle. It includes behavior that is not welcome, that is personally offensive, that fails to respect the rights of others, that lowers morale and that, therefore, interferes with the effectiveness of our work. Sexual harassment may take different forms. One specific form is a demand for sexual favors. Other forms of harassment include:
Verbal Sexual innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, threats.
Non-Verbal Sexually suggestive objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, obscene gestures.
Physical Unwanted physical contact, including touching, pinching, brushing the body, coerced sexual intercourse, assault.
Whatever form it takes -- verbal, non-verbal or physical -- sexual harassment is insulting and demeaning to the recipient and cannot be tolerated. Sexual harassment of any member or staff by any member or staff will not be tolerated. All staff and members will be expected to behave accordingly and take appropriate measures to ensure that such conduct does not occur. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any staff or member who engages in sexual harassment.
Any director who believes he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment should report the alleged act immediately to his or her Regional Vice President. If the complaint involves the Regional Vice President, the complaint should be brought to the attention of the First Vice President.
Any committee member who believes he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment should report the alleged act immediately to the chairman or vice chairman of the committee. If the complaint involves the chairman or vice chairman, the complaint should be brought to the attention of the committee liaison.
Staff should follow the complaint procedures set forth in the Association's Employee Handbook.
Sexual Harassment Policy Statement
Sexual harassment is illegal conduct and is contrary to the policy of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Each and every employee is responsible for assuring that they do not engage in sexual harassment or any conduct which could be viewed as sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment includes:
1) Unwelcome sexual advances;
2) Unwelcome requests for sexual acts or favors;
3) Other verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or
effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work
performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive
Any employee who believes he/she has suffered sexual harassment by any other employee, including supervisors and coworkers, or by any member of the Association or by any guest or visitor of the Association must bring the problem to the attention of any of the following individuals:
1) His/her supervisor;
2) Any staff member in the Human Resources Division;
3) Any attorney in the Legal Affairs Division;
4) Executive Vice President.
The complaint does not have to be in writing. It is helpful if details of dates, times, places and witnesses, if any, to the harassment can be provided.
Complaint Investigation and Confidentiality
All complaints will be investigated promptly by a team comprised of a professional staff member from the Human Resources Division and an attorney from the Legal Affairs Division.
The identity of the employee making the complaint as well as the identity of the individual accused of sexual harassment will be kept strictly confidential. Information regarding the charge of sexual harassment and the investigation of that charge will not be made known to anyone who is not directly involved either as a party, a witness, a member of the investigatory team, or the Executive Vice President. Witnesses interviewed will be provided only such information as is necessary to elicit from them their observations and other relevant information.
During the investigation, both the complainant and the accused will be provided a full opportunity to tell their side of the story. Witnesses identified by the complainant or the accused will also be interviewed. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigatory team will prepare a written report of its findings and recommendations for the Executive Vice President. Authority for the final resolution of all charges and the determination of appropriate sanctions rests with the Executive Vice President.
Sexual harassment is a serious offense and any employee found to have engaged in such conduct is subject to severe discipline, including termination.
It is contrary to Association policy for a supervisor to retaliate against any employee who files a charge of sexual harassment. All possible steps will be taken to eliminate the possibility of retaliation resulting from the filing of a complaint.
In the event a complaint of sexual harassment is found to be totally and completely without basis, appropriate disciplinary measures may be taken against the employee who brought the complaint. While this is in no way intended to discourage any employee who believes they have been the victim of sexual harassment from bringing a complaint, the Association recognizes that a charge of sexual harassment can cause serious damage to the accused's personal reputation and professional career.
In instances in which sexual harassment is found to have occurred, a member of the investigatory team will remain in communication with the victim to find out whether the harassment has ceased or if any retaliation has occurred.
Voluntary Office Romances
It is not contrary to the policy of the Association for employees to date except in circumstances where one of the employees reports, either directly or indirectly, to the other employee. No dating is permitted in such circumstances. The Association will, however, consider requests from affected employees to transfer them to other open positions within the Association for which they are qualified so that the employees are not in the same reporting lines.